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Survey Shows Parents' Best Intentions Out of Step with Expert Recommendations in Protecting Kids from Flu

Flu Vaccination Awareness Campaign Addresses Knowledge Gap, Educates Americans that Electing a President is Not the Only Important Choice to

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GAITHERSBURG, Md., Aug. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey of parents of eight-to-17-year olds shows that vaccination ranks next to last among things they believe they can do to help protect against the influenza virus. Although public health guidelines state that getting an annual flu vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu, the survey showed that parents ranked it nearly equally (56 percent) with practices such as taking vitamins (58 percent) and dressing appropriately for the weather (55 percent).(1,2) Despite 82 percent of the parents being aware they can vaccinate their child against the flu, less than half of parents (44 percent) say their child has ever received an influenza vaccine.(1) Furthermore, only about half (48 percent) say they were extremely or very likely to have their child vaccinated next flu season even after learning about expanded public health guidelines recommending that all children six months to 18 years of age receive an annual flu vaccine.(1,2)

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In the survey of 952 parents, for those with children not previously vaccinated against the flu, about three in 10 (32 percent) believe that their child does not need to be vaccinated against the flu.(1) Additionally, in a parallel survey of 875 school-age children (eight-to-17 years of age), only 40 percent of children say that it is either extremely or very important for them to receive an annual flu vaccine.(1) Around half (47 percent) of children also say that it is extremely or very important that their parents receive an annual flu vaccine.(1)

"Along with all the things that parents know are important for helping keep their kids healthy -- like washing hands and getting enough sleep -- flu vaccination should be right up there, but this survey shows us that we still have a lot of educating to do," said Anne Moscona, M.D., professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, and vice chair of pediatrics for research at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "As a community, we need to do a better job spreading the word about how important a yearly flu vaccine can be in helping protect kids -- and ourselves -- from influenza."

Federal Flu Vaccine Guidelines Expanded to Reach More Children

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that getting an annual flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent the flu.(3) In February, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) expanded their annual influenza vaccination recommendations to include all children six months to 18 years of age.(2)

According to the CDC, each year, up to 60 million Americans get the flu. Resulting complications cause more than 200,000 hospitalizations and about 36,000 deaths in the United States each year.(3)

New Campaign Launches to Educate Americans about Flu Vaccine Options

"Flu Vaccination: Choose Your Administration" is an election-themed campaign that aims to empower and encourage Americans to make informed decisions about flu vaccination. As part of the campaign, sponsored by MedImmune, visitors to can learn more about two of the most important health choices they can make this election/flu season: electing to get a flu vaccination and learning more about flu vaccine options.

Overall, about two out of three parents (67 percent) surveyed say they wish their child could get a flu vaccine without having to get a shot, and about three out of four school-age children (77 percent) say the same for themselves.(1) Of those parents who have previously had their child vaccinated against the flu, nearly 4 out of 5 (78 percent) say they would be extremely or very willing to try a needle-free flu vaccine for their child if their doctor said it was okay.(1)

A large majority of parents of eight-to-17-year-olds (80 percent) are reliant on doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals for information about flu vaccines, according to the survey.(1) In fact, two-thirds (66 percent) indicate that a healthcare provider's recommendation impacts their decision a great deal or quite a bit when determining whether or not to have their child vaccinated against the flu.(1) Among parents who have ever had their child vaccinated, half (53 percent) say that their child received the flu vaccine because their child's healthcare provider recommended it.(1)

About Influenza

Influenza, commonly referred to as "the flu," is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus.(3) The flu, much like the common cold, is airborne and can be easily transmitted from person to person.(3) Cold and flu are often confused for one another because both are respiratory illnesses.(4) Flu symptoms are often much worse and can include fever, chills, headache, extreme fatigue, and body aches.(4) The most notable difference is that the flu can result in serious complications such as pneumonia and bacterial infections.(4) Also, unlike symptoms of the common cold, the fatigue and weakness caused by the flu can last more than two weeks-lingering long after other symptoms subside.(4)

About the Parent and Child Flu Surveys

These surveys were conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of MedImmune between June 4 and June 19, 2008 among 952 U.S. residents ages 24 and older with an 8-17 year old in the household for whom they are the parent or guardian and among 875 U.S. children and adolescents 8-17 years old. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

Harris Interactive conducts a full range of custom research projects for clients in both commercial and public policy arenas and among children and teens. Harris Interactive's policies on interviewing children and teens comply with the legal codes of conduct in each country in which research is conducted. With regard to online research in the U.S., Harris Interactive complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

About MedImmune

MedImmune is wholly owned by AstraZeneca plc (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN) and is the worldwide biologics business for the AstraZeneca Group. The company has approximately 3,000 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical options for physicians and rewarding careers to employees. Dedicated to advancing science and medicine to help people live better lives, the company is focused on infection, oncology, respiratory disease and inflammation, cardiovascular/ gastrointestinal disease and neuroscience. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit

(1) MedImmune. Parent-Child Influenza Survey. Harris Interactive Inc. June 2008.

(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MMWR. 2008;57(Early Release):1-60. Available at: Accessed August 11, 2008.

(3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Key Facts about Influenza and the Influenza Vaccine. Available at Accessed August 11, 2008.

(4) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Questions & Answers: Cold Versus Flu. Available at Accessed August 11, 2008.

SOURCE MedImmune
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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